Weeknight college football is back with the MAC kicking things off on Tuesday night. In one of the two games taking place on the first Tuesday night of the MAC schedule, a battle for first place in the MAC East will be in focus with Buffalo hosting Miami (Ohio).
Buffalo continues to make strides under head coach Lance Leipold. At 7-1, Buffalo is already on pace to post the most wins in a season in program history. Buffalo has had two seasons with eight wins, including the only MAC championship season for the Bulls in 2008. A win against Miami would tie Buffalo’s record for most wins in a season and put the Bulls one step closer to winning another MAC title.
Miami (Ohio) at Buffalo
Kickoff: Tuesday, Oct. 30 at 7:30 p.m. ET
Three Things to Watch
1. Coming off a bye week to prepare for Tuesday night football
Now that weeknight football is here for the remainder of the college football season in the MAC, the conference had to throw a scheduling favor to Miami and Buffalo for the first Tuesday night game of the year. That came in the form of a scheduled bye week for each to allow for maximum time to prepare for the odd Tuesday night kickoff. Both teams will have had 10 days since their last game on Oct. 20, when Miami lost a nail-biter in double overtime at Army and Buffalo scored a massive win at Toledo.
2. First place on the line
Buffalo is the last undefeated team in MAC play residing in the MAC East Division, and Miami looks to drag the Bulls into the loss column. Doing so would create a tie for first place in the division between the two, and Miami would then own the head-to-head tiebreaker. It should be pointed out that the RedHawks enter this game with three wins on the season, all against conference opponents.
3. Buffalo’s 1-2 combo at receiver
Buffalo’s passing numbers may not impress in terms of the total yardage, but the combo at wide receiver of K.J. Osborn and Anthony Johnson has been quite productive. Osborn is among the top receivers in the MAC with 696 yards and six touchdowns and is a solid, reliable option to throw to. Johnson has been more of a home-run threat with five touchdowns on 24 receptions. Miami will have its hands full trying to shut both down.
Both teams appear to have some similar strengths on the line of scrimmage with good offensive line protection and pressure from the defensive line. That could even itself out in this matchup. Quarterback play could even out, too, as Miami’s Gus Ragland and Buffalo’s Tyree Jackson are each capable of being effective. The matchup that could decide this one comes down to Buffalo running back Kevin Marks and his ability to gain traction against Miami’s third-ranked rushing defense among MAC programs. Marks is due for a touchdown after going scoreless in the last two games. If he gets in the end zone, Buffalo will be in good shape at home.
Prediction: Buffalo 33, Miami 23
— Written by Kevin McGuire, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. McGuire also contributes to College Football Talk and The Comeback as well as hosts the No 2-Minute Warning Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @KevinOnCFB and Like him on Facebook.
(Top photo courtesy of @UBFootball)